A gift has been handed down for generations in my family. I have not had the privilege of meeting most of those who hands held it before mine. But I have known them in my way. I have come to recognize them over time, their quiet visits to my dreams. They never participate, only witness. I feel them there, from time to time, silently guarding the histories I have sought to rewrite.
I do not know who first brought the gift into the family or even why. I could only imagine its originally intended use. Given this heirloom as a child, I did not recognize its value or understand how to make it my own.
So I used it as best I could, held it in my child's hands. Awkward and unsteady with a brave smile to reassure.
Last week, I tripped and stumbled upon the truth of that gift. I suppose I could've seen it before but my childhood vision quickly became habit, then reality, and it never occurred to me to take a second look at something that had always been there.
Despite decades of misuse, unintentional but still there, I believe its essence is still intact. I will hold it up to the light when I've finished polishing off the deposits of time and residue of my misunderstanding.